The European Union (EU) is expected to reach a decision by 4 March on imposing its own set of sanctions on the government of Libya, following UN sanctions.

Before this can take effect, the European Council must make a decision and then a regulation passed by the European Union, says Anahita Thoms, a associate specialising in trade law at Germany-based Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer law firm.

“The European Council decision has been adopted. But the EU regulation is not in place yet. We are expecting this at the end of the week. Then we will have real legally binding sanctions,” says Thoms.

Sanctions from the EU are also expected to be broader ranging than their UN counterparts, adopting autonomous measures on visa bans at least 10 additional individuals and assets freezes on at least another 20 high ranking members of Qaddafi’s regime.

In the meantime, Germany has already decided to preliminarily freeze the assets of one of Qaddafi’s sons, worth €2m ($2.7m), says Thoms.

A recent UN Security Council resolution, passed on 26 February imposes several restrictions on the government. These cover an arms sale ban, including ammunition and related materials (MEED 26:2:11).

The resolution also includes a travel ban on a number of individuals considered to be responsible for the violence and the freezing of assets on six members of the Qaddafi family. However, these are not legally binding on EU member states.